St. Joan seniors enjoy a fresh day

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 11, 2004


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE-Senior citizens visiting the St. Joan of Arc School Family Life Center recently received treats of many kinds.

The occasion was the first ever Senior Day for St. John Parish residents. It was coordinated by Eve Lion, Marketing Specialist for Twin Oaks Nursing Home and Maison Oaks Assisted Living; and members of the St. John Council on Aging.

More than 20 booths, each with their own theme, offered interactive activities. Visitors also were treated to lunch, guest speakers, give-aways and door prizes.

Since St. John Parish has not hosted such an affair to this extent in the past, Lion felt it would be a fun way to give appreciation to the older people in the community.

“I had seen events like this while working with other parishes,” said Lion. “It is a way to offer a day for making the seniors feel special.”

More than two dozen sponsors and contributors were represented at the multi-faceted Senior Day. Egan Healthcare of LaPlace was one of them.

Their theme ‘We love our Patients’ and their hand-outs included a red heart necklace with a chocolate kiss inside. “This is our way of saying we care,” said Wendy Webre, marketing director.

Edwina Belvin, who assisted in the coordination of Senior Day, noticed everyone enjoying themselves from the time the doors opened at 9:30 a.m. She felt the event was the perfect opportunity to show the senior citizens that the community cares about them.

“This is a good way for everyone to come together, an opportunity to mingle with each other and enjoy,” she said.

Visitors were treated to manicures, shoeshines and freshly-made fruit smoothie drinks, among other fun activities.

“It’s great to have this,” said senior Kathleen Richard. “This gives us a place to enjoy the fun and each other’s company.”

Breakout sessions during the event included presentations by Allen Heumann, director of SHIPP; Natalie Tatje of Tatje Insurance in LaPlace; and the new management of River Parishes Hospital.

The Sheriff’s Office offered shoe shines and those manning the booth said business had been brisk. “The seniors think this (event) is great,” said Leroy Mitchell of the Sheriff’s Public Relations Department. “It’s got them, and me, very excited.”

Godfrey White, director of the Governors Office on Elderly Affairs, spoke to the crowd regarding the cost of healthcare in today’s society. “It’s a travesty when seniors have to decide on either medicine or food,” he said.” White, who was the first African American to play football at USL in 1968, said his Louisiana roots bought him to LaPlace to celebrate Senior Day with the community.

Former St. John Parish Sheriff Lloyd Johnson also addressed the audience. He mentioned that he can relate as one senior citizen to another, now that he has reached their age group.

Representatives from the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) also spoke with attendees on the subject of , ‘Leading a busy and active lifestyle in the River Parishes.’

Before the event concluded, the seniors were treated to jambalaya, compliments of the St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office staff. Music was provided by the Lizard Creek Band and door prizes were also among the day’s activities.

“I’m tired, but this was fun,” said Mary Allen of LaPlace, toward the close of the event. “My sister talked me into coming and I’m glad she did. I’ve never been to one like this before.”

Many other seniors echoed her sentiments and voiced the opinion that they would like to see Senior Day become an annual event in St. John Parish. Lion said there may be a possibility of that happening. “We do need more special events for seniors in St. John, ” she said. “We’ll see.”